Jun 292008

I have been saying for some time that I believed Adebayor would be going nowhere this summer. This was based on two factors – Wenger being reluctant to sell, and Adebayor having more class that to leave at this point, realising that his future at Arsenal is exceptionally bright.

Unfortunately, it seems like I was wrong, and the Togolese frontman has succumbed to the greed that afflicts so many of his contemporaries. In an interview with the News of the World, he indicated that he has demanded a rise, and is threatening to leave if he does not get it:

“Yes, I am still under contract to Arsenal but it’s up to the directors to satisfy my demands or I’ll leave. People ask if I am asking for the same salary as Henry. That is not necessarily the question. But I am being considered a worthy replacement for Henry while not deserving his salary.”

The first line sums up what we already know – contracts are not worth the paper they are written on. By saying he has a contract but will leave anyway makes a mockery of the faith shown in him, and in fact the improved deal he received only a year ago.

But the comparisons to Henry are ridiculous. What Adebayor seems to have missed is that Henry was not paid huge sums after shining for one year, he got a series of rises throughout his time at the club, ending up with him becoming one of the best paid players in the country after years of great service. You simply cannot demand parity with that after one season, no matter how successful, and the comparison is an insult to his predecessor.

Barcelona have made him an ‘good financial offer’, so it is not inconceivable that he and Hleb may be moving to Spain in a joint deal similar to that of Overmars and Petit all those years ago. At the time, that seemed a disaster, but neither player shone again, and it is looked back on as one of the finest pieces of business Wenger has under his belt (along with Anelka’s enormous profit).

If Ade and Hleb go to Barca, it’ll probably be for around 35m between them, far more than was paid for them and in reality, a lot more than they’re worth. Hleb lacks the end product, and while Adebayor could turn out to be an absolute beast of a striker, imagine what his contract demands with be four years down the line? If his ego is already this inflated, perhaps a move away is exactly the reality check he needs. At Barca, he would be a long way from top dog.

No doubt his agents have had a great deal to do with this, planting seeds in his head that he is now bigger than the club, but if he leaves this way, not many will be wishing him the luck we afforded to Henry. It seems, in every way, he is lesser than the man he compares himself too.

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